Whether you’re rear-ended at a stoplight or sideswiped while traveling down the interstate, a car accident can bring unexpected expenses you might not have the money for. Of course, that’s why we all have insurance—but even after you get the information you need, report the accident to the at-fault party’s insurer, and establish liability, you still have to come to an agreement regarding your settlement. This is what personal injury attorneys excel at; we’re skilled at negotiating with insurers who make unreasonable offers. However, you should also know what to expect so you can tell when you’re being treated fairly.
In this article you’ll find answers to the following questions:
- What types of damages can you claim after a car accident?
- How can you maximize damage claims after a car accident?
- Can you get compensation for non-economic damages (aka “pain and suffering”)?
- What are the rules and limits of insurance?
- What variables can affect a car accident settlement?
First: Determining Economic Damages
The direct out-of-pocket expenses you face due to a car accident may be the easiest to prove and receive reimbursement for. This is why we encourage you to save all your receipts for related expenses. They may include:
- Cost of car repairs
- Rental car costs
- Hospital visits/stays
- Follow-ups with doctors
- Missed wages
- Cost of continued treatment
If you have other extra expenses—maybe you need to hire a babysitter to get the kids from school and watch them while you’re receiving treatment—keep records of those as well. Our team wants to help you identify all valid damages so we can ask for the compensation you deserve.
Maximizing Economic Damages
Though all car accident victims are eligible to claim the same types of damages, there are factors that affect how much you can ask for. These considerations can have a significant impact on your final recovery.
Severity of Injury
If you’re only mildly injured, your medical costs are likely to be much lower than someone who received a catastrophic injury and will need care for the rest of their life. However, looking at factors like how soon you sought treatment and how much care you received can change an insurer’s evaluation of how serious your injuries were.
Validity of Claims
Though you should seek all the treatment necessary to help with your injury, some insurers will fight back against certain expenses like the cost of chiropractic visits. Therefore, be careful if you decide to pursue alternative treatments.
Your Wages and Career Expectations
Because a settlement should reimburse you for missed wages, the amount you make will factor into the final amount you receive. We can analyze your earning statements to make sure our ask isn’t too low. If you received injuries that will either require treatment in the future or that have changed your ability to perform your job, we’ll need to dig in a bit deeper. Your pay and position ideally would increase each year, so a settlement should take your career goals into mind.
Second: Calculating Non-Economic Damages
You’ve probably heard of accident victims being awarded money for “pain and suffering.” Even in minor accidents, you are entitled to these damages. The worse the injuries and the greater their effect on your life, the more you can ask for in pain and suffering damages.
Know the Rules and Limits of Insurance
In Mississippi, final car accident damages are awarded based on a system known as “comparative liability.” That means both parties may have to bear some of the costs if the accident was not caused 100% by one driver’s actions. The at-fault party’s insurer will investigate the accident (and try to question you) to figure out if you were at fault in any way. The higher the percentage of liability they can assign to you, the less they will have to pay.
When you work with our attorneys, you’ll have an investigative team on your side to push back against unfair insurance presumptions. Reducing your liability can make a big difference in the final settlement.
Of course, the amount you can collect also depends on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Mississippi requires all drivers to purchase coverage of at least:
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage
If your expenses exceed these limits, we may be able to look into other options to help you receive a full settlement.
Car Accident Settlements Are Variable
There’s a lot that goes into determining how much you should ask for in a car accident settlement. As attorneys, we may be able to provide estimates based on the general severity of the wreck and your injuries, but don’t say yes to any number before you consult with us. When we look at cases brought in by car accident victims, we can often find expenses the insurance adjuster hasn’t factored into their settlement offer. They don’t want to point out extra expenses to you—you’ll need someone on your side to advocate for you.
After having your life disrupted by a car accident, receiving fair financial help can be a key factor in your recovery. Let our team help you determine the full amount you could be eligible to receive. The number might surprise you.